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Del Potro Saves 3 M.P.; Berdych Cruises

Dubai, UAE

Davydenko© Dubai Duty Free Tennis ChampionshipsNikolay Davydenko is now 2-3 against Top 10 opponents this year.

Fourth seed Juan Martin del Potro came back from the brink of defeat Tuesday in his first-round match at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The Argentine saved three match points to edge Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(4) in two and a half hours.

Having levelled the match at one-set-apiece, del Potro fell behind 1-3 in the third set before fighting back in the seventh game. The Tandil native then trailed 15/40 and Ad-down on serve at 4-5, but saved the three match points before clinching victory in the deciding tie-break.

"He's a great player," said del Potro. "He fights like me every point, and we had fantastic rallies. I'm so glad to beat him tonight in Dubai. I played fantastic forehands to keep playing this match. Then in the end, of course, you need a little bit of luck to win these kinds of matches, and I think I played solid on important points in the third."

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The 24-year-old del Potro, winner of the 2009 US Open, improved to a 9-2 record on the season. The right-hander won the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam two weeks ago (d. Benneteau) and was a quarter-finalist at the Open 13 last week in Marseille (l. to Simon).

Third seed Tomas Berdych cruised through his opener, dismissing American wild card Rajeev Ram 6-1, 6-3 in 54 minutes. The Czech converted all four of his break points and surrendered only six points on serve throughout.

The 27-year-old Berdych is coming off a runner-up showing in Marseille, where he squandered match point in the final before losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He is making his seventh appearance in Dubai, reaching the semi-finals in 2011 (l. to Djokovic).

Russian Nikolay Davydenko broke a two-match losing streak against sixth seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, 6-0, 7-5. The first two games lasted 31 minutes, with 24 points in the first game and 26 points in the second game, of the 50-minute set. Davydenko fought back from a 1-4 deficit in the second set and improved to a 38-70 record against players in the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. 

“I won [the first] six games because we fought or made mistakes," said Davydenko. "I tried to not hit winners, but [tried to] push the ball in the middle [of the court] and wait. The first two games were half an hour. I was really tired. In two games, I was thinking ‘the match has just started and I'm already tired.'”

Tipsarevic has now lost in the opening round of his past three tournaments. The 31-year-old Davydenko will next challenge Victor Hanescu of Romania.

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